The shareholders of Germany's leading cinema chain Kieft & Kieft have undertaken a Euros 9m cash injection to keep the company afloat and continue its programme of restructuring measures.

A cost cutting programme has seen 49 jobs go and six regional offices close, according to the German daily newspaper Die Welt.

Management consultants KPMG have also drawn up a strategy for Kieft & Kieft that envisages the chain's key management taking a 20% pay cut, as well as the exhibitor renegotiating rents paid on the properties housing Kieft & Kieft cinemas and obtaining reductions in the film rentals paid to distributors.

"German distribution costs are the highest in Europe. That is not justified", Heiner Kieft told Die Welt, while his sister Marlies disputed any likelihood of the chain having to register insolvency: "We are pulling through. The situation is not threatening for the existence of the company."

Like the other players in the German exhibition sector, though, Kieft & Kieft has been hit by the fall in cinema admissions in Germany over the past 12 months.

An improvement in cinema attendance does not appear to be in sight, according to Heiner Kieft who suggested to the business daily Handelsblatt that 2003 could end with "up to 15% fewer cinema-goers".